The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Pan de Mie - how to make "shreddably" soft bread

  • Pin It
txfarmer's picture

Sourdough Pan de Mie - how to make "shreddably" soft bread

After posting about some soft Asian style breads, I have gotten more than a few private messages regarding how to make very soft sandwich loaves. I was a little suprised since my impression was that most TFL-ers here prefer a good crusty lean hearth loaf, and soft "wonder breads" are being looked down to. I guess there IS always a need for soft breads: elders and kids who don't have strong teeth, spreaded with a little jam for delicate tea sandwiches , or just because you like the taste and texture. Soft breads are not equal to tasteless wonder breads either, they can be flavorful, "bouncy", and full of body.


Pan de Mie is a slightly enriched bread, just like most soft sandwich breads. That little bit of sugar, butter (you can replace with oil), and milk powder (you can replace with milk, and take out water accordingly of course), only 5% each, are enough to make the crumb very soft. For even softer results, you can increase these ratios to 10% or even 15%, or/and add other enriching ingredients such as cream, cream cheese, buttermilk, cottage cheese, etc.  However, adding too much, you are getting into broche territory though. This verion is raised purely with sourdough stater, but you can get good results using commercial yeast as long as the ingredient ratio is reasonable, and you do a good job at kneading/fermentation/shaping. However, since pan de mie has a very subtle taste, that bit of sourdough tang really enhance the flavor, I would highly recommend using it.


Sourdough Pan de Mie (my own)

Note: 19% of the flour is in levain

Note: total hydration is 65%

Note: total flour is 280g, fit a 8X4 loaf pan. For my Chinese small-ish pullman pan, I used 260g total flour. For KAF 13X4X4 pullman pan, I would suggest using about 450g of total flour.

- levain

starter (100%), 15g

milk, 24g

bread flour, 46g

1. Mix and let fermentation at room temp (73F) for 12 hours.

- final dough

bread flour, 227g (I used half KAF bread flour and half KAF AP flour for a balance of chewiness and volume)

sugar, 14g

butter, 14g, softened

milk powder, 14g

salt, 5g

water, 150g

2. Mix together levain, flour, milk powdr, sugar, and water, autolyse for 30min. Add salt, mix until gluten is developed, add softened butter, and knead until the gluten is very developed. This intensive kneading s the key to a soft crumb, and proper volume. We've all heard of windowpane test, but what's important is how STRONG the said "windowpane" is, which is a measurement of how strong the dough is, and how uniformed the gluten structure is. The following the a picture of my windowpane test on this dough, notice that it's thin, but so strong that it doesn't tear even when I wear it as a glove and my finger is poking at it.

When I finally poke through, the edge of the hole needs to be very smooth.

Yes, it can be done by hand. I have regularly kneaded dough to this stage by hand, it just requires a bit of patience and practice. Of course it's easier with a mixer. In my KA pro6, this dough took 13 to 15 min of mixing at speed 3 or 4 (I know, I know, it violates the KA mixer manual. If you are worried, don't do it, just mix at speed 2, it will take (quite a bit) longer. I have been using this "illegal" method for 2 years now, the mixer has not complained.), doughs with more fat would take longer, different dough size would also affect the time. Do note that it's very possible to over-knead, especially with a mixer, even a couple more minutes after the stage above, the dough would deterioate quickly, it takes a few trial and error to get it perfect. I would suggest to touch and feel the dough every few minutes even you do use a mixer, so you get a good sense of how the dough changes. This intensive kneading technique is quite useful, not just for soft sandwiches, but also for brioche, or other enriched breads. However, for lean hearth loaves, I don't knead at all, I stretch and fold, to get the open crumb. I think different breads demands different techinques.

3. Bulk rise at room temp (73F) for 2 hours, the dough would have expanded noticably, but not too much. Fold, and put in fridge overnight. I find the crumb would be more even and soft if dough gets a full bulk rise - that is true even when I use dry yeast with this dough.

4. Divid, rest for one hour, then Shape into sandwich loaves, the goal here is to get rid of all air bubles in the dough, and shape them very tightly and uniformly, this way the crumb of final breads would be even and velvety, with no unsightly holes.

For the 8X4loaf pan, I first roll out the dough into pretty thin, getting rid of bubbles in the mean time. Fold two sides to middle (see picture below), then roll up like a jelly roll, and put in the pan seam side down.


However, I much prefer the pullman pan method. First divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces depending on pan size, roll each piece into oval, and roll up. After resting for 10min, roll out each piece into long oval again(along the seam), and roll up again, tighter than the first time. Put the pieces seam side down in the pan. By rolling twice, the crumb will be more even and "pore-less".

5. Cover and rise for about 6 hours at 73F. For pullman pan, the dough should be 70%full

For 8X4loaf pan, the dough should be about one inch over the edge

6.  Bake at 375 for 45min. Immediately take the bread out of pans, and cool.

Looking at the crumb shots below, you can see the difference between two shaping methods, the "double roll" really make the crumb more even and pore-less:

Of course, the "pore-less" crumb is more about aesthetic, with either shaping method, the bread would be shreddably soft.

Makes a great grilled cheese:

Or as I tend to do, just tear pieces off and snack on


Sending this to Yeastspotting.


Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Are you saying that your scale only does ounces, and you need the conversion from grams?

I'm kind of confused where you're hung up... you asked if anyone had converted to cups/tablespoons, but you say you have a scale.

Are you having an ingredient(s) misunderstanding, or is the fact that there's one phase using flour (the levain) and then there's more flour to be added to the final dough?

- Keith

RuthieG's picture

Thanks for your concern, someone else has helped me.  Ruth

JoyousMN's picture

I wondered if anyone has done the final rise in the refrigerator? I'm in the process of making this bread and am thinking I might do the final rise in the fridge.

I'll post back results. Can't see any reason why it won't work.


sb158's picture

I've been looking for a soft sandwich bread that my picky family would actually use; I think this is it! I've made it twice; both times the loaf disappeared too fast to see if it makes good sandwiches! I plan to get a Pullman pan and try a bigger loaf.

Thanks for posting this. The tips are what made the bread as good as it is!


nicodvb's picture

Txfarmer, I made this bread once more. Here are the pictures

I'm  very satisfied, but I guess there are margins for improvement. What do you think?



txfarmer's picture

Looks great!

LisaE's picture

Thanks for this recipe txfarmer, I love it. Since Wonder / Hostess went out of business, I have been looking for a good soft loaf for toast to make breakfast or BLTs and Tuna sandwiches.  I haven't bought a loaf of bread since they closed thanks to this site =) 

 The first time I made this loaf, I wasn't following the instructions very well and used a 9x5, it didn't even reach the top of the pan but it was still delicious and soft.

I made the 8x4 loaf, but my little loafpan is probably more like 7.5 x 3.5.

I didn't retard during bulk rise or proofing, this was a room temp bulk rise at 74 degrees F for 2.5 hrs. Then shape and proof for 4 hours. The flavor was very mildly sour and it was the most adorable little loaf! I might bump up the amount next time to make a full size loaf.

It made the kitchen smell irresistible!

Nice even soft crumb

Hubby says it's the best toast he's ever tasted!

This recipe will be one of my favorites for years to come! Thanks again!

lucio's picture

Dear Tx Framer, i am so grateful to you!! I am a beginner baker and for weeks i´ve been searching for this kind of Miga Bread texture. It is exactly like this. I didn´t baked your recipe yet but i would like to make few questions before:
1. in all recipes i´ve got from argentina (pan de miga´s country) they talk about using brewing yeast instead of normal commercial yeast. Do you know which results we can expect?:??

2. about texture , what i need is this "flat strechted" part in all over the crumb instead of small holes. Do you know if i use commercial yeast instead of sourdough starter i will get it?? Or it comes from other ingredients and/or procedure??


Thank you very much!!


Lucio Lambert

vickwithpc's picture

I'd love the complete conversion for this to fit the 13x4x4 pullman pan.  I have a scale...just not great and maybe lazy on the math skills! :)

Beloz's picture

I had some trouble with the levain. After leaving it for 12 hours (in the oven with the light on because it's cold here) it didn't have a single bubble. Is this what is supposed to happen? I left it on the bench for another 12 hours and it did produce bubbles then, but it was too late to use it by then. 

lucio's picture

Dear Txfarmer;


Analysing more carefully your recipe i´ve noted you just roll the dough twice by hand. So, you dont use the rolling pin at this part to strecht hard the dough and then rool it, as we see in other recipes?? You just roll it in and out and in again, by hand and smoothly ?/
Thank you if you can answer.


cow biscuits's picture
cow biscuits

I am a fairly experienced commercial yeast bread baker but relatively new to sourdough baking and am thrilled to have found a new rabbit hole to disappear into. Thanks for the detailed posting, I cannot believe this is achieved with wild yeast, amazing.

I need to work on my shaping and they over proofed a bit as I was late getting home and my kitchen is hot but I am very pleased with the result and can see me making this every week from now on.

cow biscuits's picture
cow biscuits

oh yes I forgot to mention that I included the yolk as well as the white and it was like a poor mans brioche, great for sweet or savoury - I agree makes fab grilled cheese

mochimunkie's picture

So this is my first successful sourdough starter and my first time baking with it and first time baking bread. The loaf turned out soft on the inside but the outside was crunchy like the rustic breads. What did I do wrong? Did I not knead long enough to develop the good windowpanes? This is my guess. I thought I did, but who knows. Also, what is over proofing? Maybe I did this too. I rested the shaped loaf overnight so it was more like 10 hours. So what happens if I overproof the bread?

Thanks for the recipe. I think with some practice and figuring some things out, this recipe is a keeper.

marian10's picture


I've just read your recipe for the pan de mie, am I right in thinking, that the whole process takes nearly 3 days preparation, retarding, bulk fermentation, before you bake the loaf?


It seems an awfully long time for a white loaf. Could you speed up the process to one over night retardation, then bulk rest for 2 hours after shaping, then bake?


I would love to try this recipe but I would be too impatient to cook it.

It seems that you would have to plan well in advance to bake this loaf.


Do you have any other recipes for soft white sandwich loafs using yeast that require less preparation.


Marian H

Maverick's picture

I know this is an old post, but I finally made this today using my 13x4x4 pullman pan. I was going to change the procedure a bit, but decided to follow the directions since this was my first time with this recipe. I found that the texture was very soft like I wanted. The flavor was a little sour for my taste. It was more of a sour from the milk (or milk powder) than the acetic acid type of sour. It is hard to describe. Now it is possible that this will mellow (or transform) tomorrow. I did toast some up and that changed things a bit (good toasted with butter and good toasted with jam). I preferred it toasted to plain. I didn't try it plain with any additions, so it might be fine as a sandwich or with butter/jam, etc.

One problem I had was that at a 70-75% rise it wasn't enough to reach the top of my pan. So either I needed it to go longer (like up to 1/2 inch below the top instead of 1 inch) or I need more dough (I used the suggested 450g total flour). So next time I will let it rise more.

The other thing is that I might try it without the refrigeration. If I mix up the levain the night before, then it could be done in one day. I am debating whether or not to just forego the levain build and just use straight starter and adjust accordingly (still using the 19% pre-ferment flour).

Lastly, since the dough never touched the top, it did not brown. Next time I will remove the lid part way through like I normally do. Also, I think 45 minutes is too long for my oven. The internal temperature was higher than I would normally go for a pain de mie.

Mixing in the butter is always an issue for me. I never seem to time it right so it makes the incorporation of the butter more difficult. Next time I will either add it a little earlier or let the dough rest first (probably the former).

So in general, I really like this one. It is definitely a light and airy bread. I think that it has a lot going for it and some might like the extra sour. I normally like sour in my bread, but this was different. Perhaps it was just too much for my pallet (or it will change over time). I was very pleased that this came from my starter as I have only done commercial yeast pain de mie in the past.

Maverick's picture

Okay, so the next day this had a different flavor. It was less milky sour and more like my starter tastes when it peaks (yes I taste my starter). I think this might be too sour for many people but makes me curious about applying some of this technique to my lean sourdough bread.